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lɐʇuǝɯᴉɹǝdx&#4
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I've been looking at getting / building one of those low(er) cost 3d printers for a while. They all produce essentially the same results, some being capable of larger 'build volumes' or slightly finer detail than others. Been trying to brainstorm what they could be used for motorcycle-wise, assuming you had sufficient 3d modeling talent. Here's what I've come up with. Generally this assumes ABS plastic used for printing. Nylon seems to be a viable option for many printers, and can tolerate higher temps and nastier chemicals.

- Intake (engine to carb / throttle body) manifold. Might require nylon, or some way of isolating from engine heat (silicone gasket / insert at engine contact; could be molded from common silicone caulk in 3d printed mold). ABS is supposedly gasoline resistant, but with temps and weight of carbs, nylon seems a better bet.

- Headlight (and other) brackets. Seems like the bread and butter use as far as motorcycles goes. ABS or even PLA (assuming it is away from heat) seems fine for this.

- Air box parts. Printing the airbox likely would take a higher build volume than most can allow, but something like an air filter support or snorkle, seems fine.

- Throttle mounts and tubes (with various cable pull diameters, maybe even 'cam' profiles for low pull at part throttle and high pull from mid to wot.)

- Covers of various sorts. Either ones that bolt in place of metal (like a clutch cover incorporating an acrylic window) or add texture & detail to existing part (snap-fitting over it like a cell phone case). Things like belt covers are also an option. Not sure what the temp issues might be here; the fact these are not already made from plastic indicates there could be issues.

- ???
 

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The friendly Ghost.
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13,172 Posts
Velocity Stacks
Heel Plates
Small Fender Eliminators
Headlight Buckets/Headlight Body to house Projectors
Replacement Handlebar switches
Complex dash board panels
Rear pillon seat blanks
Front seat plastic inners
Small OEM-looking battery boxes
Miniature Motorcycle keychain look a likes that can be painted to look just like your bike.
 

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Just Here For The Party
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696 Posts
I second the handlebar controls. Also you could maybe do fairing mounts or skeletonized headlight housings. There's some really good things happening with 3D printing. Start with a blank slate, you'll come up with awesome stuff.

Anything with compound curves or complex shapes with multiple depths in all axes is prime for 3D printing.
 

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******* Dumbass
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5,796 Posts
Fork tube mounts for headlights.
Fabbing test fit parts to be machined later.

Lots of uses for a 30 printer. I have a Prusa I haven't been able to screw with in ages.
 

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"More than meets the eye"
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For prototyping of parts 3D printing is perfect!!! I am still a bit skeptical about the structural strength of printed parts due to layer adhesion when printing on the hobby scale printers. I am sure the larger professional/industrial printers wouldn't have the same problem.

I have a RapMan and have just now printed me some custom speedo and tacho housings for my Firestorm and busy smoothing the finish of the parts with acetone vapor. That should also help a bit towards strength but I haven't tested any such treated parts yet. To be honest I would be too scared to use it for "important" parts like throttles and so but sure I can't see problems with using it for switch housings. In fact my VTR's low/hi beam button broke off and printed a replacement to glue into place. You should also be able to print small pieces to repair fairings and cowlings where they might have a hole in them.

For printing larger ABS parts a heated print bed is a must because warping of the plastic is your biggest enemy due to it shrinking. I found if you print a large flat object then it stays flat (on the heated bed) but as soon as you start adding high walls i.e. like a box, then it is those walls that start pulling up the flat part when they start shrinking. It's as if they shrink more than the flat bottom.

For Nylon I know you need an all metal hot-end due to the higher temperatures required to print but I don't know if it's much more difficult to print with that ABS. And here by us Nylon is about double the price of ABS. Would also like to know what the layer adhesion is like.

On the bike I won't use PLA at all unless it is just to make a test part or as a pattern that you can cover with fibreglass or carbon fibre.
 
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******* Dumbass
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FYI, I just read today people are sandblasting fused filament printed parts to reduce the striated finish.
 
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"More than meets the eye"
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For Nylon I know you need an all metal hot-end due to the higher temperatures required to print but I don't know if it's much more difficult to print with that ABS. And here by us Nylon is about double the price of ABS. Would also like to know what the layer adhesion is like.
I read up a bit more and it seems that you should be able to print Nylon at very much the same temps as ABS. Some reckon from about 230C to about 270C. Apparently layer adhesion is better but you shouldn't squash they layers as much as with ABS or PLA.

FYI, I just read today people are sandblasting fused filament printed parts to reduce the striated finish.
Uhm...I would think you would need a very light blasting medium and very light blasting pressure. I would feel MUCH safer just sanding the parts BUT with ABS you can use Acetone vapor to smooth you parts in a VERY short amount of time.
 

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******* Dumbass
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I'm guessing it was soda blasting. The article didn't mention the media, just some pictures and a blurb.
 

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"More than meets the eye"
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This was one of my first attempt at smoothing ABS with acetone vapor:
 
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